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Walking-The Real Benefits

Walking-The Real Benefits

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…..about Walking

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, its winter. It’s cold outside, and frequently gray.  Tell me again why I should get out of bed on a Saturday morning to walk with you?

A: You’ll feel better if you do.  Don’t just take my word for it:  Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., the author of a new book entitled The Joy of Movement, offered these good reasons in the January edition of Spry (Parade.com):

  • IT’S A STRESS-BUSTER – “… A 25-year-old study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found physical activity (walking) to be the most effective way to improve your mood. It beat eating, sleeping, and talking with friends.  ‘While it doesn’t eliminate stress, it does help us handle it with greater hope and calm. Plus, it tends to shift our mood toward a more positive outlook.’”

  • IT HELPS US CONNECT – “When exercising, World Walk To Wellness the brain releases chemicals, such as endorphins and endocannabinoids, which increase the pleasure we take from connecting with others,’ McGonigal says. ‘If you want to strengthen a relationship, take a walk  If you want to form new friendships, find a place where you can move with others.  If you struggle with social anxiety, regular exercise can make it easier and more enjoyable to spend time with others.’”

  • IT BOOSTS YOUR BRAIN – “

    Physical activity is already linked to better brain health, and McGonigal says that regular exercise (walking) can not only protect against Alzheimer’s disease but also strengthen the brain’s reward system. ‘This can relieve depression and make you better able to experience everyday pleasures,’ she says.

  • IT CAN MAKE YOU HAPPIER –

    Being active with a group boosts the “feel-good” effect of movement more than exercising alone. “After being physically active with a group, people feel more optimistic, more hopeful, and more connected to others.”

So, less stress and/or depression, improved relationships, and increased happiness…isn’t that worth getting up and out for a walk?

 

EAT RIGHT, MOVE MORE, “Walk ‘n’ Talk” to CONNECT, AND STAY WELL

Weight Loss…the elusive goal

Weight Loss…the elusive goal

 

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…about Losing Weight and Obesity

 

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, am I the only one who repeats the same resolution for each New Year — namely, to lose weight?

A: Nope!  That very well may be the most common item on people’s lists of New Year’s Resolutions. Losing weight seems Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends about weight loss and obesity - scale and measuring tapelike a more elusive goal as we age.  However, it is an important one.  A recent newspaper article by Sandee LaMotte of CNN gave a dire prediction. It stated that half of Americans will be obese within a decade unless major changes are made.

The prediction is based on an article recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  The study analyzed 26 years if Body Mass Index (BMI) data from over 6 million American adults.  The researchers concluded that by 2030, 1 in 4 Americans will have “a body mass index over 35. This means they will be more than 100 pounds overweight.”  That implies huge health and economic repercussions.

“In all 50 states, at least 35% of the population will be obese, the study found.” Hardest hit are 29 states, mostly in the Midwest and South, where the prediction is that 50% of their residents will be considered obese. Sub-populations most at risk for severe obesity include “women, non-Hispanic black adults, and low-income adults who make less than $50,000 per year.”  For adults “with less than $20,000 annual household income, severe obesity will be the most common BMI category in 44 states,” according to lead author Zachary Ward.

How has this happened?  Following are some of the factors:

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages and ultra-processed foods are more widely available
  • Food prices – “including unhealthy fast-food choices” – have fallen (when adjusted for inflation)
  • Many people have limited options for physical activity

What can be done to avoid the predictions for obesity?  Here are some ideas shared in the article:

  • Improving local public transportation systems to encourage walking instead of driving
  • Keeping public schools open on weekends and summers to provide access to gymnasiums and swimming pools
  • Increasing support for farmers’ markets to provide more access to low-cost fruits and vegetables
  • Eliminating tax deductions to businesses for advertising unhealthy foods to children

An earlier Harvard study found that “the most cost-effective solution was the tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. The study found the tax saved $30 in health care costs for every dollar spent on the program.”

As you can see from these studies, all Americans need to be aware of the problem of accelerating rates of obesity in our nation.  Perhaps a more reasonable New Year’s Resolution for you would be to avoid gaining any more weight in the coming year.  The ultimate goal is to stay healthy.  And the best ways to do that and to lose weight are….

 

EAT RIGHT,  MOVE MORE,  AND STAY WELL

Weight Loss…the elusive goal

Losing weight…the elusive goal

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…..about Weight Loss and Obesity

 

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, am I the only one who repeats the same resolution for each New Year — namely, to lose weight?

A: Nope!  That very well may be the most common item on people’s lists of New Year’s Resolutions. Losing weight seems Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends about weight loss and obesity - scale and measuring tapelike a more elusive goal as we age.  However, it is an important one.  A recent newspaper article by Sandee LaMotte of CNN gave the dire prediction that half of Americans will be obese within a decade unless major changes are made.

The prediction is based on an article recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  The study analyzed 26 years if Body Mass Index (BMI) data from over 6 million American adults.  The researchers concluded that by 2030, 1 in 4 Americans will have “a body mass index over 35, which means they will be more than 100 pounds overweight.”  That implies huge health and economic repercussions.

“In all 50 states, at least 35% of the population will be obese, the study found.” Hardest hit are 29 states, mostly in the Midwest and South, where the prediction is that 50% of their residents will be considered obese. Sub-populations most at risk for severe obesity include “women, non-Hispanic black adults, and low-income adults who make less than $50,000 per year.”  For adults “with less than $20,000 annual household income, severe obesity will be the most common BMI category in 44 states,” according to lead author Zachary Ward.

How has this happened?  Here are some of the factors:

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages and ultra-processed foods are more widely available
  • Food prices – “including unhealthy fast-food choices” – have fallen (when adjusted for inflation)
  • Many people have limited options for physical activity

What can be done to avoid the predictions for obesity?  Here are some ideas shared in the article:

  • Improving local public transportation systems to encourage walking instead of driving
  • Keeping public schools open on weekends and summers to provide access to gymnasiums and swimming pools
  • Increasing support for farmers’ markets to provide more access to low-cost fruits and vegetables
  • Eliminating tax deductions to businesses for advertising unhealthy foods to children

An earlier Harvard study found that “the most cost-effective solution was the tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. The study found the tax saved $30 in health care costs for every dollar spent on the program.”

As you can see from these studies, all Americans need to be aware of the problem of accelerating rates of obesity in our nation.  Perhaps a more reasonable New Year’s Resolution for you would be to avoid gaining any more weight in the coming year.  The ultimate goal is to stay healthy.  And the best ways to do that are….

EAT RIGHT,  MOVE MORE,  AND STAY WELL

How to Eat Right While Traveling

How to Eat Right While Traveling

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…..about Eating Right While Traveling

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, our holiday travels will involve lots of meals in restaurants.  Do you have any advice on how to “eat right” under those conditions?

A: First of all, I wish you a safe journey, with lots of fun included. It is much harder to “eat right” when away from home.  As you probably have noticed, many restaurants serve very large portions.  If you will be staying places where you can refrigerate leftovers and microwave them for later snacking, you can ask your server for “half to go,” dividing and packaging half your meal before it reaches you, with all that temptation to clean your entire plate.

However, your travels might make it impractical to take away leftovers. Ask your travel companions if they would like to share an entree. Many restaurants will accommodate this request.

While planning your travel, plan to pack some snacks so that you won’t be extremely hungry when you sit down to your restaurant meal.  Almonds are a good choice – easy to pack and healthy, too. Raisins are another option, especially because they come in tiny boxes for those on the go.  Fruit is healthy, but sometimes a bit messier. Snacking every three hours may help you eat right and avoid filling up on bread before your meal arrives at your table in the restaurant.

Nutritionists tell us that the “ideal meal” would be a plate filled halfway Pedometer.Com Eat Right while traveling Portion Platewith fruits and/or vegetables, with the other half divided between protein (meat, poultry, fish) and starches (potatoes, rice, noodles).  Avoid fried foods as much as possible. Drink water rather than caloric soft drinks.  If you are at a restaurant buffet, take small samples of the foods you like the most.  Consider making a lighter meal out of just appetizers. You can eat right in restaurants if you plan ahead.

You may have heard me say, “You cannot exercise your way out of a poor diet.” However, do plan to “move more” even while traveling.  If traveling by car, stop at highway rest stops and walk around a bit, and do the same after restaurant meals.  You will feel better (and be a safer driver).  Traveling by airplane makes it more difficult to safely get up and move around, but it’s possible.

Save calorie splurges until you reach your destination and may want to indulge in homemade, once-a-year food specialties.

 

EAT RIGHT, MOVER MORE, BE WELL